49ers preseason star Jullian Taylor making his case to be a starter

Young defensive tackle is with the Niners to stay

Tommy Call
August 23, 2018 - 2:35 pm

With the 223rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the San Francisco 49ers select Jullian Taylor out of Temple University.

“Who?”

That was the reaction of many when Taylor’s name was called. Heading into preseason Week 3, the phrase “potential starter” has been mentioned in the same sentence as his name.

Coming out of Temple, Taylor had more injury concerns than positives on his scouting report, Only playing 15 games in four years of college football. Now three weeks into his first NFL preseason, it’s hard to find a negative thing to say about the defensive lineman.

Taylor has paired a great training camp with two solid preseason performances heading into the ever-important preseason Week 3.

Taylor has already sealed his spot on the roster. Now he’s making the climb from unheard of seventh-round flier to starting defensive lineman for the 49ers.

Over the offseason edge rusher was atop many 49ers fans wishlist, whether a pass rusher came in the draft or free agency. With high picks and money to spend an edge defender was expected.

First came free agency, Ziggy Ansah was franchise tagged taking him off the board, with Trent Murphy and Kony Ealy quickly signing deals elsewhere. Instead of resigning one of their own, the 49ers then let Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine walk.

After little action outside of signing Jeremiah Attaochu in free agency, all eyes turned to the draft.

The 49ers passed on Marcus Davenport, Harold Landry and Josh Sweat, all players who were touted as pass rushers and connected to the team. Instead John Lynch decided to pull the trigger on Taylor in the seventh round.

The seventh round has became a money round for Lynch as he landed their on-the-rise safety Adrian Colbert out of Miami in the 7th Round of the 2017 draft. Taylor’s continuing the trend of 7th round gems with his early camp performance.

Taylor already looked the part coming out of Temple listed at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, and since putting on the 49ers jersey he’s played the part. He’s shown ability to be a power pass rusher in the preseason:

He’s also shown he has some finesse moves as an outside rusher:

Taylor has also been a problem in the run-game. Taking on double-teams with ease and clogging run lanes:

What’s especially impressive about Taylor’s debut is he’s yet to play significant snaps next to DeForest Buckner. Buckner is as disruptive of a defensive linemen as you can get in the NFL. Buckner usually demands double-teams or the opposing team’s best offensive linemen, so whoever plays next to him should clean up, aka Taylor.

Taylor’s quick development has made underperforming guys like Arik Armstead and Eli Harold expendable. The 49ers moved on from Harold and if Taylor continues to rise Armstead could be next.

Taylor will have a large test against the Colts when he locks up with Indy’s first-round pick Quenton Nelson.

Nelson was touted as one of the best offensive guards to come out of the draft in years. If Taylor wants to keep his spot he needs to show he can hang with the best and that starts with Nelson on Saturday.

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